First Drive

Mahindra Bolero ZLX review, test drive

Our first impressions of the updated Mahindra Bolero with the new low-cost common-rail system

DETAILS
6
photos

There’s life in the Bolero yet. Mahindra has just upgraded India’s most popular MUV by giving it a low-cost common-rail system. There’s a minor facelift too, along with some interior updates.

The Bolero is powered by the same capacity 2523cc diesel engine as before. Only, now it comes with a common-rail motor to make it more efficient and to improve drivability. At 63bhp and 19.8kgm of torque, power output is the same as the old direct-injection engine, but there is a minor increase in peak torque. What you do get is peppy low-speed responses – the engine pulls cleanly from 1000rpm in third gear – and with surprising refinement. Yes, the diesel clatter is audible but it’s not like the old DI engine that would make your ears ring after a long journey.

Out on the highway, the engine runs out of steam pretty quickly, and it gets worse once loaded up with seven people. At just 100kph, you are getting close to the outer edges of the Bolero’s performance envelope, which means overtaking maneouvres need serious planning. Flat out, the Bolero hits 100kph in a yawning 25.61 seconds and, because of its limited power, takes ages to get to its 124kph top speed.

However, given its vintage, the Bolero’s road manners are much better than you would expect. The ride is quite level and absorbent over most surfaces, and only sharp bumps filtering through to the cabin. There’s not muchsteering feel though and the crisp handling typical of modern SUVs is just not there.

The redesigned dash looks like it’s been lifted straight out of Knight Rider. By modern car standards, the digital displays and voice messaging system are pretty cheesy, but we are sure it will have quite an effect in the rural areas, where the Bolero is popular. The digital gauges and trip computer do add some sophistication and the beige fabric brightens things
up a bit, but dashboard panel gaps and the general quality are well below par. The poor ergonomics, a time-honoured Bolero problem, persist. The front seats are flat, the steering is too big and too high and the pedals are painful to use after some time. It’s almost like Mahindra benchmarked tractors when finalising the driving position. Move over to the rear and you are greeted by cramped seats which don’t offer much legroom or good underthigh support.

The Bolero comes with a start-stop system which improves fuel effeciency. As a hardy and rugged vehicle for rural areas, the Bolero works well. As a personal car, it is too crude and too compromised. The ageing platform is not that good on safety either.  Priced at Rs 6.96 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), the Bolero in its ZLX avatar is not cheap. It feels dated and it would make more sense to shell out Rs 50k more and go for the Xylo or Scorpio instead. 

Fact File

Price Range (in lakhs)*

Ex-showroom price 6.96 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi)

Engine

Fuel Diesel
Installation Front longitudinal, RWD
Type 2523cc
Power 2523cc
Torque 19.88kgm at 1400-2200rpm

Transmission

Gearbox 5-speed manual

Dimensions

Length 4107mm
Width 1745mm
Height 1880mm
Wheel base 2680mm
Ground clearance 180mm

Performance

0-20 1.60
0-40 4.34
0-60 8.67
0-80 14.97
0-100 25.61
0-120 52.56
See more about:  mahindra, bolero, xylo, xuv500, sumo, grande, sumo, gold, force, one, toyota, innova

notSet

The Chevrolet Trailblazer, new Skoda Superb and Tata Hexa are the stars of our 16th Anniversary issue. And that, of course, is just the tip of the iceberg. Read on.
What's in this issue?

Most Read
Find a car review

Latest Car Reviews

Range Rover LWB review, test drive

Range Rover LWB review, test drive

11 hours ago
The Range Rover LWB is one of the largest, plushest and most spacious cars...
Maruti Ciaz long term review, second report

Maruti Ciaz long term review, second report

3 days ago
Our longtermer handles the concrete jungle with aplomb.
2015 Audi A6 Matrix 35 TDI review, test drive

2015 Audi A6 Matrix 35 TDI review, test drive

5 days ago
This facelift trims the Audi A6 range down to just one variant, but you can...
Maruti Ciaz SHVS diesel hybrid review, test drive

Maruti Ciaz SHVS diesel hybrid review, test drive

6 days ago
The Maruti Ciaz becomes even more frugal, thanks to the clever fuel-saving...
Abarth Punto Evo review, test drive

Abarth Punto Evo review, test drive

Aug 22, 2015
The wait for driving enthusiasts is over. India has finally got its first...
Latest News
India-bound Suzuki Baleno unveiled
Images of Suzuki’s new hatchback released ahead of its Frankfurt debut.
3 hours ago   3 pictures
Touchscreen-equipped Hyundai i20 Asta(O), i20 Active SX launched
The top-spec Hyundai i20, i20 Active now get a 7.0-inch touchscreen AVN...
5 hours ago   1 picture
Mahindra TUV300 bookings open; launch on Sept 10, 2015
Mahindra TUV300 to come in three variants and will get an optional AMT...
6 hours ago   1 picture
Volvo S90 final design leaked ahead of official reveal
Design inspired by the Volvo Concept Coupé; gets sloping roofline and...
8 hours ago   3 pictures
Audi to deliver multimedia experience at Frankfurt
A massive structure is being developed by Audi at the Frankfurt event site;...
1 day 4 hours ago   1 picture

Autocar Magazine

Issue: 193 | Autocar India: September 2015

The Chevrolet Trailblazer, new Skoda Superb and Tata Hexa are the stars of our 16th Anniversary issue. And that, of course, is just the tip of the iceberg. Read on.
Autocar Magazine